SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The United States has officially ended its longest war. The State Department and the Pentagon announced that the mission in Afghanistan is now over nearly 20 years after the terrorist attacks on September 11.
The U.S. troops evacuation effort allowed more than 123,000 people to escape Afghanistan including about 5,500 U.S. citizens. However, around 100 to 200 Americans were left behind, along with thousands of Afghan allies.
Even with the military mission over, the White House said it hopes to reopen Kabul’s airport to chartered flights to try and get those who want to leave out.
“There’s a lot of heavy feelings that are happening today. I think we went over there with every intention of doing well and changing the world, says veteran Jarvie Curties. “However, some things are just not meant to happen. That doesn’t negate the efforts that our service men and women put in.”
“Today is a long time coming. I knew bad things were going to happen when we left because bad things happen to everyone who invades Afghanistan and tries to leave,” veteran Levi Lee states.
“There’s a lot of sadness. I do feel like we should’ve been able to help more but we can’t stay forever,” veteran Rachel Jenkins shares.
The question of what’s next for those who are left in Afghanistan is top of mind for many as the situation continues to unfold.
Amos Guiora, professor of law at the University of Utah believes the situation is most fire for Afghans who worked with America.
“I think that based on past history, the Taliban will be merciless with its dealings with them,” Guiora says.
He said Afghan women are not far behind quoting one of them from just yesterday.
“She said you’re going to kill me, we both know that you’re going to kill me, my only request is that you kill me quickly please don’t torture me,” Guiora explains.
His advice for Afghans who aren’t affiliated with Americans is to do whatever it takes to not stand out.
“Not to align myself with opposition but literally submerge like this…duck and hope for this awfulness to pass,” Guiora says.
As for Americans who didn’t make it out, Guiora said it’s unclear how they will leave at this point.
“President Biden you can agree with his decision or disagree with his decision, but he strikes me as he’s going to honor his decision and there won’t be an American presence there,” Guiora continues.
“I hope that we can continue to help these people and get them to a place where they can help themselves…even though we’re not physically on the ground with them anymore,” Jenkins says.